Robson & Lindley Aquatics Center

5550 SMU Blvd. Dallas, TX 75206
LEED NC v2009, LEED Gold

Rendering of the Aquatics Center

Owner: Southern Methodist University
Architect: BSW Architects
Contractor: The Beck Group
LEED Consultant: The Beck Group

Completion: October 2017
Size: 42,737 sq ft
Regular Occupancy: 281 (residents, FTE, and visitors)
Use: Natatorium

Project Description:

This project is a new natatorium located on the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas on the East side of campus. The Aquatics Center includes a 50 meter competition pool, lockers rooms, offices, classroom and a second level intended for spectators. The building is approximately 42,737 GSF, seeking Gold certification.

In keeping with SMU's commitment to sustainability, this new building will adhere to strict VOC content levels for the materials being used in the project as well as purchase green power to help offset their energy use. Finally, the project will undergo enhanced commissioning to ensure all systems are running as designed.

Project Highlights:

  • All occupants of the SMU Aquatics Center are within half a mile to three DART Light Rail lines (Orange, Red, and Blue) with a total of 200 transit rides per day. This provides occupants with easy access to the surrounding urban areas using alternative transportation and helps reduce the greenhouse gas emissions associated with single-occupancy vehicles.
  • The project is located within walking distance of at least 10 basic services including a grocery store, post office, several restaurants, a library, and a fitness center. Being a short distance from so many services encourages walking, and reduces urban sprawl and increases physical activity which can improve occupant's health.
  • SMU offers preferred parking spaces for anyone who drives a low-emitting and fuel efficient vehicle. This is meant to act as a meaningful incentive for building users to drive efficient vehicles and help reduce the emissions of pollutants generated from combustion engines as well as the negative environmental effects of producing gasoline.
  • The project achieved exemplary performance for maximizing the amount of open and vegetated area adjacent to the building for the occupants’ use. Open space provides habitat for vegetation and wildlife, reduced the heat island effect, and provides the resident hall occupants with a connection to the outdoors.
  • All restrooms located in the building have water conservation features. Water usage was reduced by 36% by installing waterless urinals, water efficient toilets, and low flow faucets and shower heads. This helps decrease the total amount of water drawn from local rivers and aquifers, protects the natural water cycle, and saves water resources for future generations.
  • Careful consideration was given by the design team to ensure that occupants had access to natural daylight and views to the outdoors. Occupants in over 90% of all regularly occupied spaces have a direct line of sight to the outdoors, which enables residents and visitors to maintain a visual connection to the surrounding environment.
  • The building designers employed a number of integrated strategies to reduce its energy usage while providing for greater comfort level of occupants.
    • Efficient mechanical and lighting systems were installed and energy performance was improved further with energy saving strategies such as high performance roof and wall insulation and high performance windows. A computer simulated model was used to determine potential energy savings, showing a predicted 31% energy use reduction overall.
    • The buildings thermal control systems were designed to meet higher human comfort standards.
    • Enhanced commissioning of the building’s mechanical, domestic hot water, lighting fixtures and controls confirms that they building is operating for maximum efficiency to optimize energy reduction.
  • SMU proved its commitment to clean energy by purchasing 70% of the project’s predicted building energy use from renewable energy sources for two years. This commitment helps reduce the air pollution impacts of electricity generation by utilizing renewable energy sources such as solar, water, wind, biomass, and geothermal sources.
  • The SMU Aquatics Center is a non-smoking building, and signage informs the public to move beyond 25’ from the building to smoke to ensure high indoor air quality for occupants and visitors.
  • SMU is also committed to recycling as much of their waste as possible, and they have implemented a campus wide recycling program that utilizes a single-stream collection system that allows the university to easily collect plastics, metals, paper, cardboard, and glass. The storage and collection of recyclables for the Aquatics Center has been sized according to the number of occupants they expect both on a daily basis and during special events.
  • From the beginning, the design team sought to minimize the use of materials and create attractive, low-maintenance spaces. The commitment to minimizing materials extended to minimizing waste, throughout construction. Over 90% of all construction waste was recycled. That equates to over 1,235 tons of waste diverted from the landfill. Diverting construction waste not only mitigates the detrimental effects of new construction, it preserves natural resources.
  • A conscious effort was made to use products that have a high recycled content and were either regionally or locally sourced. The percent of recycled content is measured by the total cost of all construction materials. This project’s building materials totaled over 27% of recycled content by cost, and over 24% of materials by cost were extracted, processed and manufactured within 500 miles of the project. This not only helps support the regional economy but reduces the environmental impacts resulting from transportation.
  • Indoor air quality was assured with the implementation of the Indoor Air Quality Management Plan during construction and installation of products with low volatile organic compound content levels as well as agrifiber products with no added urea formaldehyde.
  • Beck was the contractor, and LEED consultant for the SMU Aquatics Center; beginning in the programming and pre-design phase, Beck used cross-discipline decision making to maximize opportunities for integrated, cost-effective adoption of green design and construction strategies. An emphasis was placed on collaboration which resulted in a streamlined and efficient process.